Wednesday, January 27, 2016

A Different Oscar Snub

winter comes to Texas in a bad ass 3rd Act scene where Joy out-thinks her enemies (I love shit like that)
When Jada Pinkett Smith's husband didn't get a best actor Oscar nomination for his leading role in the film Concussion she felt that the explanation for this snub was racism and so she started an Oscar boycott campaign which has snowballed into a movement. Spike Lee felt that he too had been snubbed for his recent film Chi-Raq and the film makers of Straight Outta Compton were pissed off that only the white screenwriters out of the entire cast and crew deserved an Oscar nomination for their efforts. I haven't seen Spike Lee's film or Straight Outta Compton so I can't judge their merits but as someone who played rugby for 20 years and is a little bit worried about this issue I did see Concussion. It's not a good film and Will Smith's performance in it is poor but that hasn't stopped the Oscars in the past. Just think of the horrible films that got nominations or even won the Oscar and you'll understand that Mrs Smith has a point. 
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Still it's a complicated issue. My two favourite Oscar nominated films, The Revenant and Spotlight are both really good movies and if either of those films wins I'll be pretty pleased. The Revenant is a superior art-house action movie and Spotlight simmers with righteous anger against the Archdiocese of Boston and that evil bastard Cardinal Law who should be forced to watch the film on a loop so he can he learn what real heroism looks like (either that or someone should assassinate the evil old fuck). 
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But that's not really what I wanted to talk about, what I wanted to talk about is the film, Joy, directed by David O Russell and starring Jennifer Lawrence. 

Synopsis from Google: A story of a family across four generations, centered on the girl who becomes the woman, Joy Mangano, (Jennifer Lawrence) who founds a business dynasty and becomes a matriarch in her own right.

As in that amazing Tom Hardy movie Locke that I loved so much Joy is essentially a film about crisis management. Joy is a woman who manages a series of crises in her life, thinks her way out of her difficulties and solves her problems through intelligence, patience, hard-work, guile, more patience and cunning. Unlike in a lot of Hollywood movies Joy does not solve any of her problems by punching anyone in the face in the third act. Furthermore Jennifer Lawrence does not play an invalid or a rape victim or a prostitute or someone in the midst of a torrid love affair. She's a working class businesswoman from Long Island and that's pretty much it. Joy has not been nominated for an Oscar this year; Jennifer Lawrence has but although she gives the best acting performance of any movie I've seen in the last year she is not the favourite to win the best actress Oscar. (In fact she's placed last in the bookies odds.) 

Joy only rates a 60% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critics who didn't like it have complained that it is "tonally incoherent" which is the kind of stupid thing movie critics say. Movies can be any tone they want. They are their own world. And in the world of Joy an intelligent woman invents a mop to make the lives of women easier. How unspeakably vulgar other critics have said...blah blah consumerism blah blah. Trust me the critics who didn't like it are wrong. Its got the pacing and structure of a thriller with the heart of a biopic and the laughs of a black comedy. Its good. Go see it.